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Bernold, L E (2003) Economic Model to Optimize Underground Utility Protection. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 129(06), 645–52.

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: Terrorism; Economic impact; Underground structures; Utilities; Buried pipes; Risk analysis; Optimization models; utility programs; risk management; cost-benefit analysis; underground cables; construction industry; civil engineering;
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0733-9364
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9364(2003)129:6(645)
  • Abstract:
    The need for better protecting our vital infrastructure from being damaged or destroyed has received increased attention since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The tragedy of having thousands of innocent people die before the eyes of an entire nation awakened people to the reality of “managed” attacks of unthinkable magnitudes. However, tragedies of a smaller scale are a daily occurrence but accepted as “collateral damage” of work in an unsafe environment. This paper presents a cost-benefit analysis to address the question of how much money should be spent in protecting underground utilities from damage. During the study of an actual incident it was found that the total costs of such accidents are vastly underreported because only costs for emergency responses and repair are tallied up. This paper makes the case that a comprehensive approach for assessing the total economic impact of such incidents on the public, business, and government is the critical stepping stone to a mathematical optimization of expenditure for damage prevention. In addition, the reader will quickly realize that the use of the presented optimization model provides theoretical underpinning for the engineering profession in its effort to better protect our critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks.